Project Description

An Interview with Ruben S. Ayala High School Teacher Derek Arnell

Computer Science teacher

Derek Arnell

Ruben S. Ayala High School

Chino Hills, CA

The Interview…

What relevant subject do you teach?

I teach CTE AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science Applications.

What grades do you teach this subject to?


What attracted you to this contest?

I teach highly technical classes and the Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition looked like a great opportunity for students to exercise their creativity and gain exposure to real-world marketing and entrepreneurship.

What did you hope to accomplish or have the students learn?

I wanted to have all my students participate and see how far any of them could advance in the competition. We had a pair make it to the semi-finals. After researching Blue Ocean Strategy and learning what makes a product a blue ocean product as opposed to a red ocean project, I thought that that was a neat concept for students to take away. I also gave a crash course on the basics of marketing like the marketing and promotional mixes.

Why this contest and not another one?

Because of how easy it was to participate. Any student with a camera can enter. And it was global and virtual.

How did you integrate this into your curriculum? (or did you?)

I looked at the contest description and requirements, then created a truncated three-day project based on those.

Did you use any of the materials that the Blue Ocean Competition provided for integrating this into the class?

Absolutely. We utilized the PowerPoint template on the website for reference and the concept of a Blue Ocean product. Additional resources were provided on Google Classroom such as screen casting and animation freeware, video converters, and sample videos from past winners. I also encouraged students to think of a problem first (something you find annoying) and then think of a product to solve or alleviate that problem.

Did the students have to show each other the pitches?

I had student-teams give 1-minute elevator speeches to summarize their pitches. Student work was highly visible in the classroom while in progress.

Did the students form teams or work independently (or do you even know)?

Collaboration is highly emphasized at AHS, so students did indeed work in teams.

How did you (or did you) work together with your students on this? Who did what?

I provided students with various multimedia resources and facilitated however I could.

What was hard?

Technical difficulties can arise in just about any situation and this was no different. I had one student who didn’t want to submit his pitch without having a patent out of fear it will be copied.

What was easy?

Generating excitement. Students were eager to brainstorm product and business ideas and to film their video pitch.

Were the students excited to participate?


Were the students more interested in developing their ideas or in having the school win the prize for participation?

I think generating ideas, but the 1st – 3rd place prizes were a great incentive.

Did you get any positive comments from students?

I had a lot of students eager to play their pitches and ask for feedback on what I think of their ideas.

Do you know if the students used the content on our website?

Yes, I posted various links on our Google Classroom page to use as resources and references.

Do you use or teach the Blue Ocean concepts in your class room?

Heavily during this project.

Will they be graded (on participation, on the pitches…)?

They were graded on participation and pitches which required a lot of video watching.

Did your school help in any way?

Our principal, Mrs. Yarboi and administration encouraged and supported us 100%.

Was there value to your school in your entering or will there be in winning?

There is a very active chapter of FBLA on campus, so I’m sure future participation in the Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition will expand at our school.

What advice do you have for other teachers thinking about using the Blue Ocean Competition in their classes?

Make and integrate it into your class however you want and have fun. ScreenCastify is a cool Chrome extension that allows for quick creation of screencast videos you can narrate.

What benefits did you derive from your students participating in the competition?

Students thought outside of the box about how to create, pitch, and market a product or business of their own design and they were able to experience business education well before 12th grade Economics.